best french movies and shows to watch

The Best French Horror Movies and Shows To Watch This Halloween

6 Mins Read

EntertainmentThe Best French Horror Movies and Shows To Watch This Halloween

French cinema has been the primary mode of inspiration for entertainment industries across the world. Be it musicals, comedies, tragedies, or in this case, horror films. Noir short films that were often silent and focused on situation-based sequences have redefined filmmaking across genres. It is for this reason that you might find it appealing to watch the best horror shows and movies that have come out of France this Halloween. There is no shortage of great content to choose from, but if you’re looking for where to get started, here are some of the best French horror movies and shows you might want to have a look at:

Climax

Stay away from drugs, kids. And if you needed a movie to illustrate just how true that is, this movie would be it. Climax is a modern French noir that quickly transitions between different genres, specifically thriller and horror.

best french horror movies and shows climax

Two dancers are having a night of their lives when they take some LSD and decide to hole up in a local gym. However, they underestimated the potency of LSD as they find themselves trapped in a maze of their own delusions and hallucinations.

It starts out as hilarious fun. However, as the severity of the hallucinations increases, they both become increasingly violent. Thanks to a wandering camera angle that is used throughout the movie, you almost feel like you’re in the dancers’ heads. If nothing else, this movie will probably drill down the message of staying away from LSD deep inside your head. 

The Tenant

When Roman Polanski’s career is studied, it’s a shame that it’ll be known for a host of other things rather than The Tenant. It is a wonderful case study for any film student who wants to learn just how impactful the music and the setting can be.

best french horror movies and shows climax

The movie’s storyline or the characters themselves do not present a particularly scary outlook. However, the film is able to consistently able to build up a mood that something terrible is waiting to appear any second now. The core element of the film is fear and conspiracies that expand those fears even further.

As far as horror filmmaking is concerned, you won’t find better examples than The Tenant.

Raw

Ever made fun of vegetarians or vegans? Oh, you know you have. It’s all playful fun until someone’s limit is broken…in literal terms.

best french horror movies and shows raw

Julia is just another vegan who always had a repulsion for meat. However, since she starts her training as a nurse, she realizes she has a weird attraction to the smell of blood and raw flesh. To overcome these feelings, she reluctantly starts eating meat but her cravings take a turn for worse when she has to resort to cannibalism towards the end.

With searing images of what it looks like when a scrawny vegetarian decides to make a meal out of a fully grown man, this is one movie that’ll haunt your worst nightmares for years to come.

Marianne

Marianne is the personification of what can happen if the renowned French noir cinematic form of filmmaking is presented in a more modern setting that focuses more on the story than its characters.

best french horror movies and shows marianne

That last bit sounds a bit touché considering how the story is about a young novelist, Emma, who finds out that the characters from her stories are coming back to life and that she’ll have to face them and the horrible actions she’s had them perform over the years.

In the end, it is more than just a psychological thriller as those few characters put Emma through her own personal hell, making her relive the anguish of all her fictional characters, highlighting how terrifying literature can be, literally.

The Forest

The jungle and the trees in them have many secrets, the answers to which have eluded us for centuries. However, when a 16-year-old Jennifer disappears in a fishing village in the Ardennes, the whole town is intent on finding her out.

best french horror movies and shows the forest

In the end, the task is given to Captain Gaspart Deker, Virginie Musso, and an old oracle in the village, Eve. However, as they venture deep inside the woods, they realize that there’s more to Jennifer’s disappearance than they may have originally thought.

Calvaire

You’ll find a lot of similarities between yourself and the average French moviegoer since a lot of them also missed out on this gem. Made by French underground horror director Fabrice du Welz, this film explores the dark edges of black comedy and psychosexual themes.

best french horror movies and shows calvaire

A down on his luck musician comes across an innkeeper in a secluded town. After that, what should have been a rather mundane encounter takes a turn for the worse and they realize the town is full of opportunities for them to exploit.

Their exploits are harmless at first, but like a snowball, they quickly spiral out of control, and towards the end, you’re left wondering how things got so bizarre, to begin with.

Martyrs

Revenge plots can often be nauseating. This is especially true if it follows the tried and tested formula of someone being wronged and then them taking their revenge throughout the rest of the movie. However, Martyrs shuns that formula entirely.

Most notably, this is the movie that brought the New French Extremity to the fore. The typical revenge format is turned on its head within the first hour as piles of gruesome scenes are shown on screen. It is also an excellent study into how darkness begets darkness.

best french horror movies and shows martyrs

Themes of religion, mortality, and terror make most of the film’s plot worth the watch. If for nothing else, watch this movie for its memorable climax that leaves even the toughest viewers a bit weak at their stomach.

Diabolique

This can arguably be classified as the first French horror flick as it brought about the French New Wave movement. What makes this movie unique is the fact that it combines mystery and horror so perfectly.

The plot follows a simple story of a woman who finds out her husband has been cheating on her. Rather than confront him or his lover, she confronts the other woman who reveals he has been lying to her as well. Together, they murder the man…and that is where the true horror begins.

best french horror movies and shows diabolique

As if the spirit of the husband will not rest until both of them are dead, a series of errors and strange occurrences ensures that none of the women can leave the house. The music and setting play an important role as both women fear the worse for themselves. Towards the end, you’ll have shed more than your fair share of sweat owing to everything happening on screen.

Beyond the Walls

Considering how this miniseries has only 3 episodes, this would be the perfect Halloween watch if you were planning to watch more than one movie or show. A young woman moves into an apartment across from a building that has been empty for nearly 30 years.

best french horror movies and shows beyond the walls

Soon afterward, the owner of the house is discovered dead in the building with his will. Surprisingly, he has left the house to her. Seeing how this can help her bring down her bills, she moves into that building. However, at night, she is swallowed by the walls as she finds out the house itself is a maze.

There’s nothing scarier than the vast emptiness that exists in loneliness. She has to face that loneliness, keep her sanity, and fight off the monsters within that loneliness while she tries to come up with a way to get back to the real world.

The Returned

The basic plot of the movie is scary to begin with. However, the eeriest part of the show is just how comfortable the rest of the people seem to be. Dead people in a small French village appear to be coming back to life. They have no scars, no damage, and apparently appear to be completely normal.

best french horror movies and shows the returned

The others are happy to see their loved ones back from the dead. However, they soon begin to doubt their initial happiness when strange things start happening. Seeing visions of their church being destroyed or the town being destroyed in a seismic event, the townspeople begin worrying about what to do.

The story that follows will have you questioning your own perceptions about mortality, whether you would want a deceased one back in your life, and most importantly, how precious is life really if it can be lived more than once?

Yasir Nawaz Yasir Nawaz enjoys writing on issues related to cybersecurity, digital privacy, and online streaming. A firm advocate of digital equality and freedom of access throughout the web, he believes no piece of consumable information should be restricted online. When he’s not busy writing on such immensely important issues, he finds solace in chess, reading, and staring into the abyss in his best Luke Skywalker impression.

Have Your Say!!

Join 3 million+ users to embrace internet freedom

Signup for PureVPN to get complete online security and privacy with a hidden IP address and encrypted internet traffic.